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FOX Audience Strategy + Essence: Celebration of Black Women In Media & Entertainment

I was invited by Fox Studios (home of American Idol), and more specifically, Fox Audience Strategy headed by my dear friend and colleague Nicole Bernard (Executive Vice President) to attend an IMAGES event with Fox and Essence Magazine.

The event was led by the amazing and knowledgeable Vanessa Bush, Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine. The panel featured Fox Executives Zola Mashariki and Shana C. Waterman and was filled out by Fox Talent: Suzanne de Passe, Nicole Beharie, and Gabourey Sidibe, to focus and celebrate the image of black women in media and entertainment.

Vanessa Bush showcased a dynamic presentation of Essence Magazine’s acclaimed study “The Image of Black Women in Media and Entertainment,” which was followed by an intimated conversation with the panel, and then a Q&A session with the audience. It was incredibly empowering to be in a room full of distinguished entertainment icons and intelligent women and men.
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Nicole Bernard, EVP FOX Audience Strategy_DSC6531

Vanessa Bush, Essence Editor in Chief
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Study: The Image of Black Women in Media & Entertainment

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FOX Talent

Suzanne de Passe: Co-Chairman of de Passe Jones Entertainment Group
While she was at Motown, she discovered and signed Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5, Lionel Richie & The Commodores, Rick James, de Barge, and a number of multi-million selling artists. Recipient of an Academy Award nomination for co-writing the screenplay Lady Sings the Blues, de Passe won two Emmy Awards and NAACP Image Awards as Executive Producer of Motown 25. She is an Executive producer, Chairman, Television producer and Entrepreneur._DSC6568

Nicole Beharie
A graduate from The Julliard School’s Drama Division, Nicole is the lead and star of Fox Network’s Sleepy Hollow as Lieutenant Abbie Mills. Her breakout role came last year as she starred in the Jackie Robinson biography, 42 opposite Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford, and also co-starred with Michael Fassbender in the Golden Globe Award-nominated film Shame. Beharie’s critically acclaimed film debut was as the star of American Violet, alongside Alfre Woodard and Tim Blake Nelson. Additional film credits include The Express, My Last Day Without You, Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day, Apartment 4E, and The Last Fall. By the way, did you know that she is a singer/song write too? Yeah, and if that wasn’t impressive enough, she is incredibly sweet.
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Gabourey Sidibe
For her role as Precious, Sidibe received an Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nomination for Best Actress. Sidibe was awarded both The Film Independent “Independent Spirit Award” and the NAACP Image Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. She also garnered Best Actress nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, Broadcast Film Critics, and British Academy of Film and Television Arts. The National Board of Review awarded her with the Breakthrough Performance Award and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival honored Sidibe with the Vanguard Award for “taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film.” Gabourey a series regular on Fox 21st Century’s American Horror Story._DSC6590

FOX Executives

Zola B. Mashariki: Senior Vice President of Production at Fox Searchlight Pictures
She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School and a former corporate attorney at Proskauer Rose LLP in New York and Manatt, Phelps and Phillips LLP in Los Angeles.  Ms. Mashariki has worked on a number of feature films, including The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (nominated for 2 Golden Globe® awards), Martha Marcy May Marlene, Another Earth, Our Family Wedding, Notorious, The Secret Life of Bees, The Savages, The Namesake, The Clearing, In America, Antwone Fisher, Baggage Claim & Black Nativity (to name a few). Most recently, Zola has been working on the sequel to John Madden’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Mira Nair’s Bengali Detective & Thomas Vinterberg’s Far From The Madding Crowd._DSC6574

Shana C. Waterman: Senior Vice President, Event Series Development & Production
Shana serves as the SVP in this newly-created department at Fox Broadcasting Company charged with producing the network’s limited-run, Event Series. She’s commissioned and develops long-form series including the upcoming 24: Live Another Day and sci-fi thriller, Wayward Pines. Before taking on her new role, Waterman was Senior Vice President of Current Programming where she oversaw several prime-time, scripted television series including House, Glee, Fringe, Raising Hope, The Mindy Project, American Dad, and Family Guy. She currently serves on the Board of the New York Foundation for the Arts and is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School.

Entertainment Icons

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62 comments
Tatiana Brunelli
Tatiana Brunelli

gostei da idéia da FOX sim pois na televisão vemos mais pessoas do modo padrão da tv branco, trasso fino, cabelo liso . E na realidade somos uma mistura de rasa . Poderia ter pessoa branca de cabelo bleck .

Latosha Thomas
Latosha Thomas

LOL...she talking bout almost...lol. U and the lady in second column 2nd pic resemble....I know u think so..lol

April Harris
April Harris

BOL!!!! Almost!!' Lol man if I EVER DO y'all better make sure I NEVER come outside!!

Latosha Thomas
Latosha Thomas

I thought I saw April Harris for a min...but I know haven't gained that much since I saw u.

Teilor Heidi Lybrand
Teilor Heidi Lybrand

I believe this doesn't just happen to black women.all women suffer things that can not be explained but only by the humanity by itself.

Jennifer Ndidi
Jennifer Ndidi

@ Regina - I will do just that! This page appeared in my news feed. I thought her page was similar to african print in fashion. I thought she was a fashionista posting pics of black models in high end fashion.

Barbara Bailey
Barbara Bailey

We can start by writing in to the black networks and say we want to see positive things.It just take one to start the pen is powerful.Also if we don't watch they will get the message because that's money.

Janet T St-Hilaire
Janet T St-Hilaire

Cast the light on the positive and stop watching the negative tv junk. If your mind is being fed junk food in return you are what you eat. Black people need to focus and know that we have greatness in us. We are capable of greater and better; let us begin to convey that message.

eboni73
eboni73

@sami_Jaax she's just precious. I have 2 baby sisters already but I really could make her #3. The smart and pretty one.

J Rochelle Lowery
J Rochelle Lowery

You are what you eat. Consumption doesn't just include ingestion of food but images and sounds. It all matters what we watch. It's an entertaining distraction.

Linda F. Martin
Linda F. Martin

Actually I watch reality shows because I watch them as entertainment....really dont take them seriously. But I do agree it sends a.negative image. Unfortunately well behaved doesnt sell tickets. I would love to see a format like the Apprentice where they actually do something positive.

Jamie Winston
Jamie Winston

Stop watching=no ratings=cancelled shows, it is that damn simple

Mziyce LifeLyrics
Mziyce LifeLyrics

if people would stop supporting these stupid reality shows.....

Jus My
Jus My

Well it doesn't help when you have "Black Networks" like #TVOne that have television shows like #LovethatGirl that perpetuate that Black ghetto girl madness... Ugh!!! It's disrespectful & nowhere near funny!!!

Jay Lee
Jay Lee

*****INCOME TAX SPECIAL****** whats up wanna make $2000 to $9000. I'm manager at WalMart and Whatever you put on a MoneyPack Card, I can add a zero... Say if you put $200 on the MoneyPack Card, I can make that $2000. All I want is $600, you keep $1400. Call me if your interested, 424 288 0147

Melanie Daley
Melanie Daley

WoW Angela Bronner Helm, this is a GREAT discussion happening here!!

Jessica Pridgen
Jessica Pridgen

^^the sad truth, in a nutshell. the educated black women are the ones perpetuating the extreme typologies we shouldn't have to work so hard to debunk.

Shaun Morris
Shaun Morris

Nicole Beharie, such an awesome actress!

Annitra Bolger
Annitra Bolger

This all sounds really great... but unfortunately educated African American women( i. e. Mona Scott, Debra Lee, Mara Brock Akil, etc) are oftentimes behind the shows that paint African American women in a negative light. I would love to see more of the images in the bottom of this picture, but sadly most networks are content with the " sex and drama sells" approach. As long as we as a community continue to support what they produce, we prove them right.

Toya Trenee Freeman
Toya Trenee Freeman

I personally don't have a problem with the TV SHOWS that entertainment.... It's when the entertainment becomes your real life that problems arise. Realistically I wish there was so much positive that the negative views weren't even an issue.

Rachel Phipps
Rachel Phipps

The media continues to single us out when our white counterparts are displaying the same disgusting behavior on TV.

Love Jones
Love Jones

Yes! To this post black women in media studies need to step up and change what's shown and we as viewers need to cut off the tv when these shows come on

Simone Morgan
Simone Morgan

Right now, I'm working on a story that of the under represented stereotype. It's about a glamourous yet down to earth woman who is finally realizing her shortcomings in relationships and is working on becoming a better person. Check it out.

Regina Gold
Regina Gold

Jennifer Ndidi Come on, google is your friend. How can you like a page and not know the foundation or read the "about" page?

Candy Scott
Candy Scott

Orlando Jones looking kinda fierce with that pose !!

Jennifer Ndidi
Jennifer Ndidi

Who are you in the most inquisitive manner possible? Are you a stylist, editor of magazine, socialite, assistant etc or what that you're amongst these people??

Bree Cee
Bree Cee

It's not just who is on television, it is whoever is watching it as well. If we stop watching it, ratings go down, programs get taken off the air. Problem solved.

Cyberhood Counseling
Cyberhood Counseling

It's not just reality shows. Being Mary Jane, Have and Have Nots and Single Ladies are pretty bad too. We watch this dumbed down programming because it's the only way we get to see ourselves on television. Hopefully those who watch are teaching their children that this is not who all Black women are.

Felicia Louis Beavers
Felicia Louis Beavers

I am deeply saddened by the state of our representation as black women! We need to take a stand by not participating in the "MESS"( Atlanta Housewives. ,R&B Diva's, Flavor Of Love , Basketball Wives)...ect ect. We should never watch these or any programs like these that Portray us in false and negative ways!

Renee Sinclair
Renee Sinclair

It is unfortunate that "Good Entertainment" is associated with the ignorance of some of our black people.We clearly need to change that perception. I understand that our race identify with real situations, however we must be mindful of the way we present ourselves. We must educate, articulate, and evolve into someone or something that will benefit our race for the betterment of our children. Black people for many years have been used for entertainment purposes, it is time to change that!!!!!!

Andrea Williams
Andrea Williams

It is like Carolyn Henderson said in her comment. Look how they make all black men look. There was a picture that was shared of all the Morehouse men that graduated recently you do not see pics of that and young black men graduate often. The media does not share that good news.

Ara-Zior Wilson
Ara-Zior Wilson

We have to do better. When black women and black men set higher standards for themselves as well as each other then change can begin. Just think if more men said my beautiful black sister why do you always walk around half dressed? More women would put some clothes on. We have to encourage each other to do better to reach our full potential.

Ida Ng de Feze
Ida Ng de Feze

These images are there because WE failed to ensure that there won't be any sisters to portray those roles. We can't control the mainstream média but we can 1) individually control what we watch and where we invest our time and money and 2) collectively agree on a covenant to do and be better. This covenant start among our friends and family and must be expanded to others. Mentoring our younger sisters, giving a hand to a single mom ect. Ultimately, these stats say more about the collective us than the people pushing for it because if we were really that good, there would not be any of us watching or taking part in these. I wish all sisters knew that they are Queens and what that entails.

Carolyn Henderson
Carolyn Henderson

Represented: we black beautiful sista don't fully get the credit we truly deserts for a profession well done or something simple as responsibility of Nourishing a family! at the end of the day it's hard work it's a job maintaining no matter what it is...ljs

Audriana Latrice Smith
Audriana Latrice Smith

It's just like stereotyping black men as drug dealers, deadbeat dads, jobless, and only having a chance to be successful by having a ball or a microphone in their hand. It's up to us as women to break the cycle. Every black woman is not angry, bitter, home-wrecking, or looking for a come up. Ppl display these things to make money, and sadly, our young girls feed into it and think it's ok because that is "popular" culture. We are beautiful ppl, but as I stated, it's up to us. We have to defy the norm.